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Thursday, November 29, 2012

When did you first say...I'm a Runner

To people who don't run it seems like a stupid concept.  If you run... you are a runner.  Ever owned and laced up a pair of running shoes and taken them for a spin around your neighborhood?  Voila! You're a runner.  Ask the question of helpful runners every where and they will say "the first time you run you are a runner."  Intellectually all of that may make sense. 

Relative newbies to the sport  know the truth that lurks just below that surface.  Other people will call you a runner long before you claim that title for yourself.  I know.  Last year I was in a meeting planning a race for water at work and several people around the table were asking me questions.  So that seemed like as good a time as any to stop reading my e-mail on my phone and pay attention.  As I tuned back in, I caught "ask Kathy, she's a runner."  At first I scanned the room looking for the other Kathy, the one that would be in infinitely better shape than me because clearly she was a runner.  Then I realized I knew everyone in the room and I was the only Kathy.  "Oh, I'm not a runner," I quickly corrected.  Also an unwritten rule, you need to do this fairly quickly and adamantly before the Running Gods who control all running hear this and think you are being way too cocky and suddenly on your next recreational outing you twist your ankle on that meter box that lazy water company never fixed.  Sorry long day of "satisfied" customers at work. Anyway the rest of the meeting was spent grilling me on number of days I run, how many races, membership in Atlanta Track Club.  All of this mind you to sway me into believing I had somehow morphed from someone who detested the idea of running to a runner.  I can assure you if the Running Gods are reading this I in no way took the bait.

Since in previous posts I have identified myself as a runner there must have been a turning point.  You may imagine a run where like in a movie, or Ryan Hall IPod ad, the road gives way to a meadow and there are beams of light and the title of "runner" is bestowed upon you so you can rightfully claim it with no worry of being smote by a vengeful and judgemental force.  How fortunate for most of us that no one is more vengeful or judgemental of ourselves then,  It was nothing so miraculous or "ad" inspiring.  For me it was when I wanted to run more than I wanted to do something else so I made a decision and altered my schedule for "running."  For me it was the day I decided it is just too hot in Atlanta in the summer to run at 5:00PM so I decided to set my alarm and run at 4:30 AM.  This is now my habit, but 5 months ago it was a big step or let's face it a real commitment to the sport.  All the other things my friends listed, it wasn't that they weren't true.  They were.  I became a runner in my own mind when running was in my heart and I needed to do it because I loved it.  Hope you found your moment.  If not keep at it.  "I'm a runner" will slip out one day and you won't even look to the sky out of the corner of your eye!

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